Howling winds to threaten travel disruptions over north-central US

Alex Sosnowski

A strengthening storm responsible for severe weather and tornadoes in the South will produce an expanding area of strong winds from the northern and central Plains to the Midwest into Tuesday night.

This image, taken on Monday morning, Oct. 21, 2019, over the north-central United States shows a classic comma shape in the cloud cover indicative of a powerful storm. (NOAA/GOES-East)

The large storm - more typical of November - is unleashing drenching rain, thunderstorms, snow and cold air, and it will produce a high wind zone spanning 900 miles over the north-central United States.

Strongest winds, blowing from the north and west, will charge across the Plains and Midwest into Tuesday night.

"Frequent gusts between 40 and 50 mph are in store with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 60 mph," Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.

"Gusts that strong can break tree limbs, cause localized power outages and inhibit travel," Leister said.

Airline passengers should expect flight delays and cancellations, especially from Nebraska and the Dakotas to Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. As the gusty winds affect the major airports of Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, ripple-effect delays can occur elsewhere across the nation.

Winds over this same zone can also be very troublesome for high-profile vehicles such as trucks, campers and buses. With no mountain ranges and only limited forests in the region, there is little to stop the winds blowing across the highways.

Where winds blow across the Great Lakes, shoreline areas that face the wind can be subject to overwash and flooding.

The storm producing the strong winds will also cause a batch of rain and embedded thunderstorms to spiral eastward into the Carolinas, mid-Atlantic and Northeast into Tuesday night.

Although some snow fell in South Dakota and western Nebraska from Sunday into Monday, amounts were minuscule when compared to a storm from earlier this month.

This storm produced up to 4 inches of snow in the Black Hills of South Dakota with 2-3 inches falling on Rapid City, South Dakota, during Sunday evening.

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